County jobless rate jumps |

County jobless rate jumps

Nevada County’s unemployment rate jumped sharply in January from December as more people looked for jobs, according to state figures released Friday.

The state Employment Development Department reported an increase in the county’s unemployment rate from 4.1 percent in December to 5 percent in January.

The state jobless rate showed a similar increase from 5.8 percent in December to 6.7 percent in January, as did national unemployment, which reached 6.3 percent from 5.4 percent. The estimates are not adjusted for seasonal effects.

Nevada County tied with Amador, El Dorado and Napa counties for the 11th lowest unemployment among the state’s counties.

The 420-person monthly jump in the number of unemployed in Nevada County surpassed the 180 jobs lost during the month, according to state figures.

Mary Mahoney, a labor market consultant with the EDD, said there were a number of possible causes for the higher number of unemployed.

It is possible that people delayed filing for unemployment until January to get higher benefits, Mahoney said. Maximum unemployment benefits increased from $230 a week to $330 a week beginning the first week in January.

The increase in people hunting for work could also include commuters who live in here and lost their jobs in other counties, and people who moved here without work. Seasonal layoffs could also have prompted more people to hunt for work.

The number of jobs in Nevada County fell by 180, but much of that was due to post-holiday layoffs in retail and transportation rather than permanent layoffs, Mahoney said. The retail trade sector lost 190 jobs. Transportation, which includes shipping companies, was down by 30 jobs.

“This would be the time of the year when you would expect a bit of a jump in seasonal unemployment,” Mahoney said.

Though jobs were down over the month, there were 230 more jobs in January compared with a year ago. Sectors that added jobs over the year include construction, communications and utilities, health services and local government.

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